Is your office environment or office furniture making you sick? The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and, increasingly, manufacturers of office products and equipment, are taking steps to reduce the likelihood that’s the case.
Sometimes apples to apples really isn’t a fair comparison. Case in point: office space.
The most productive use of 20,000 square feet of office space for one company may be counterproductive for another company. Specifying performance metrics that identify the best parameters to inform workplace design and acquisition decisions is an emerging trend this year – because everyone can agree that designing a space in a way shown to most positively impact the workforce makes sense. The challenge is identifying the parameters that work best to inform workplace design and acquisition decisions for your business.
Most workplaces (especially those with many employees) are microcosms of society as a whole. Within a company’s walls are individuals of varying ages, races, ethnicities, interests, talents, skills, and temperaments. While most organizations have a hierarchical setup (with management at the top and interns at the bottom), each employee, regardless of their role, age, or life experience has been chosen to be part of the company for a reason.
Open offices are certainly not the answer for every type of office environment; however, there are many business that can benefit from making the switch from cubicles into an open office space. Some companies are able to forego cubicles and reconfigure their offices into open-concept workspaces that encourage collaboration, bolster creativity and increase workplace morale. If your employees are hidden away in cubicles and you’d like to embrace an open workspace, you’ll probably be relieved to hear that it may be possible to achieve that primarily by reusing what you already have on hand.
With an office space planning project, practically everything except for the square footage, footprint, and stationary walls and windows is fair game. Office furnishings, accessories, and temporary walls or partitions are at your disposal to bring your vision to life.
If you ask employees to describe their ideal workspace, many would probably describe a spacious corner office with sweeping city views, a fully stocked mini-fridge and a cozy sofa ideal for power naps. Except for a fortunate fraction of workers, the reality is nowhere near this ideal. This ideal does serve as a brass ring to motivate employees, though! Most employees work in either an open workspace or a cubicle, and there are pluses and minuses to both setups.
While open concept offices, office benching, and office hoteling are up and coming office design choices for many companies, these types of layouts don’t work for all companies. If your employees are situated in cubicles and the arrangement works for you and your team, there is no need to bend to peer pressure! Cubicle office layouts have unique benefits that some other office layouts don’t – including a sense of privacy and having one’s own space, noise control, and the ability to be configured and reconfigured in various ways.
If you read articles in trade or consumer business magazines (or on our blog, like this one about Open Workspaces vs. Cubicles), you’re probably pretty familiar with the open office concept. Instead of compartmentalizing employees within cubicles, permanent offices, or office crafted of temporary walls, open concept offices are similar to lofts. There are no barriers delineating the square footage that individual employees occupy.
Sustainability: You’ve probably heard the term in relation to business principles and procedures. But do you truly understand what it means? According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development, sustainability is the process of adopting business strategies and activities that meet the immediate needs of a business and its stakeholders, while protecting, sustaining, and enhancing the human and natural resources that will be needed in the future.